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Roadmap for virtual reality (VR)

Description and state of the art

Definition

Technology evolving from advancements in Computer

Graphics, Cognitive Intelligence and Human Computer

Interaction.

Virtual Reality (VR) provides a computer-generated 3D

environment that surrounds a user and responds to that

individuals actions in a natural way[224]. It refers to

computer technologies that use software to generate realistic

images, sounds and other sensations (e.g. smell, vibrations,

etc.) that replicate a real environment (or create an imaginary

setting), and simulate a user's physical presence in this

environment, by enabling the user to interact with this space

and any objects depicted therein using specialized devices

(e.g. display screens, projectors, goggles, headsets or head-

mounted displays, gloves, etc.) VR actually brings the user

into the digital world by cutting off outside stimuli. In this way

user is solely focusing on the digital content[225].

Addressed

societal

/business or

public sector

need

Societal need:

Experiential education and training

Public sector need:

Recruitment and training

Existing

solutions

/applications

/services

Existing solutions include:

in terms of hardware

o Google Cardboard[226]

o Samsung Gear VR[227]

o Oculus Rift[228]

and in terms of software platforms (for schools and

universities):

o Immerse VR Education[229]

o Altrange VR[230]

o Unimersiv[231]

The number of applications for virtual reality training is

increasing over time. Thus, also special applications for the

public sector (e.g. in the health area or in the area of

emergency management) are possible.

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Main actors

regarding R&D

of this

technology

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Universitat de Barcelona

University College London

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Frderung der Angewandten

Forschung e.V.

Technische Universitt Mnchen

Current research

activities

In total, there more than 160 projects related to virtual reality.

Projects identified by SONNETS, and relevant to the related

societal need, which set the focus on virtual reality itself are:

AbsZero, with the goal to enable a mass audience of

private and business customers to record own VR

content in a simple fashion and a highly-defined quality

through a VR camera[175].

eHERITAGE (Expanding the Research and Innovation

Capacity in Cultural Heritage Virtual Reality

Applications), targeting the development of a center of

excellence in virtual heritage[232].

VRMIND (Virtual reality based evaluation of mental

disorders)[233],

FURNIT-SAVER (Smart Augmented and Virtual Reality

Marketplace for Furniture Customisation), to make use

of VR/AR technologies, recommendation engines and a

user interface to produce a smart marketplace for

furniture customisation[234].

VR4Health (Revinax platform for 3D Virtual Reality

Learning Techniques for Complex Medical Applications),

on the development of an innovative solution that will

greatly improve surgical training allowing to decrease

surgical errors, and the associated burden for EU

healthcare systems[235].

VR STROKE REHAB (Virtual Reality Intervention for

Stroke Rehabilitation), to assess the effectiveness of VR

therapy to promote the participation in daily physical

activity of individuals with stroke[236].

SP3D (Virtual reality fitting simulation for electronic e-

commerce), an innovative solution for customers to

try-on clothes on their mobile devices[237].

MicroNanoTeleHaptics (Micro/Nano Exploration,

Manipulation and Assembly: Telehaptics and Virtual

Reality System Development and Investigation of

Biomechanics and Neuroscience of Touch), developing

robot mediated human interface technologies to

manually explore, manipulate and assemble

progressively smaller objects ranging from micro- to

nano-meter scales and demonstrating the power of the

interface system in the investigation of the fundamental

mechanics and neural mechanisms of touch[238].

IMOSHION (IMproving Occupational Safety & Health

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in European SMEs with help of simulatION and Virtual

Reality), with the objective to stimulate awareness of

OSH issues in European SMEs and to support SMEs in

their adherence of OSH through training, operation,

planning and the design of workplaces[239].

IMERSO, a revolutionary Virtual Reality (VR) system

for modernising the multimedia aspects of product

design and prototyping, customer engagement, and

workforce training[240].

V-TIME (Virtual reality-Treadmill combined

Intervention for enhancing Mobility and reducing falls in

the Elderly)[241].

Impact

assessment

Public Sector as an Innovation Driver:

Quality of Education

Quality of Health

Public Safety

Necessary technological modifications

Potential use

cases

Virtual Reality can be used in the context of the public sector

for several training purposes, indicatively for:

Medical training / surgery simulation[242]

Architectural walkthroughs[243]

Historical re-enactments[243]

Emergency services (paramedic training)[243]

Combat training[243]

Rescue teams training

Professional and citizens training for crisis situations

Virtual tours and field trips to museums, landmarks or

even outer space

Enhancing the learning experience of students[244]

Technological

challenges

Technical challenges in the field of virtual reality are located

in the areas of:

developing better tracking systems

finding more natural ways to allow users to interact

within a virtual environment

eliminating interface constraints and bad ergonomics

(cables impeding movement, poorly designed

instruments causing fatigue and an unsettling feeling

of enclosure)

decreasing the time it takes to build virtual spaces (it

can take a long time to create a convincing virtual

environment - the more realistic the environment, the

longer it takes to make it)

ensuring platform compatibility.

Necessary activities (in or for the public sector)

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Development of a

specific training

necessary

There is no need for specific training for the

use of the technology. However, caution is

needed, when it comes to the development of

relevant models, as poor models of the real

world may provide faulty training results, as

well as in the actual use of virtual reality

systems (i.e. having short breaks for every 30

minutes of use), so as to avoid related side-

effects.

Advanced or

adapted ICT

infrastructure

needed

Less than one percent of the 1.43 billion

computers in the world have the graphical

capabilities needed for VR, according to the

research company Gartner[245]. These are

definitely high-end computers that are

optimized for it, but theyre costly, and thus

out of reach.

On the other hand, virtual reality technology is

also very bandwidth-intensive.

Last but not least, the need for upgraded

hardware isnt limited to just computers.

Consoles, cameras, displays and other

pertinent gadgets need as well to undergo

relevant improvements.

These points indicate that for the most part,

the technology has either yet to be released, is

in early developmental stages or simply beyond

the budget of regular consumers[245] and

imply the need for advanced or adapted ICT

infrastructure.

Change of (public

sector internal)

processes

necessary

No change of public sector internal processes is

necessary.

Promotion /

information of

stakeholders

necessary

The immersive nature of VR makes it a perfect

fit for video games as well as training

applications. However, while for gamers virtual

reality may be an easy sell, it may be hard to

get non-gamers to commit to this technology,

and thereby promotion of the latter to the

targeted stakeholders is necessary.

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Need to deal with

cyber security

issues

No cyber security issues identified.

New or modified

legislative

framework or

regulations

necessary

No modifications in the legislative framework

are necessary.

Development of a

common standard

necessary

No standards development is necessary.

Need for a more

economical

solution

The market of virtual reality gadgets is

dominated by high prices. This of course is

anticipated to change over time as newer

models become more powerful and cheaper to

produce, but the fact is that we are not there

yet[245].

Dealing with challenges

Ethical issues

No ethical issues are identified.

Societal issues

No societal issues identified.

Health issues

Prolonged use may cause side-effects, such as

sickness, headache, vertigo, nausea,

disorientation etc. Oculus Rifts health and

safety documentation alone lists the following

as potential symptoms:

Seizures

Loss of awareness

Eye strain

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Eye or muscle twitching

Involuntary movements

Altered, blurred, or double vision or

other visual abnormalities

Dizziness

Disorientation

Impaired balance

Impaired hand-eye coordination

Excessive sweating

Increased salivation

Nausea

Lightheadedness

Discomfort or pain in the head or eyes

Drowsiness

Fatigue

Other symptoms similar to motion

sickness

The truth is, the long-term effects of VR are

still unknown. Many side effects are thought to

be only temporary, but long-term research

studies are scarce so we dont know for

sure[245].

Public acceptance

The technology is likely to encounter problems

regarding public acceptance, as for the time

being it is only familiar and attractive mostly to

gamers, whereas it involves quite expensive

equipment which leaves the majority of

consumers priced out of the VR market.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/19/long-term-effects-of-virtual-reality-use-need-more-research-say-scientistshttps://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/19/long-term-effects-of-virtual-reality-use-need-more-research-say-scientists

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